DETROIT – The first production of the Chevrolet Volt has rolled off the assembly line at a General Motors Co. factory in Detroit, but anyone who wants to buy the electric-drive vehicle is going to have to bid for it.
The Volt – bearing the vehicle identification number ending in BU100002 – will be auctioned off, with all proceeds benefitting the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, the automaker said. Details on the auction can be found at Volt.CharityBuzz.com. Bidding ends Dec. 14.
On Tuesday night, bidding on the website had reached $180,000.
“Every aspect of the Volt – from its aerodynamic shape to its battery chemistry – is a testament to the importance of math and sciences,” GM North America President Mark Reuss said Tuesday. “By encouraging Detroit-area students to pursue these topics, we hope to cultivate the next generation of engineers who will build upon the Volt’s innovative technologies.”
The Volt is the first of a new generation of mass-produced plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles to hit the U.S. auto market. It will retail for $41,000 when it hits showrooms in December, but it will be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Lease deals will also be available.
The compact sedan has a range of about 40 miles using only electricity from its battery, according to GM. It also has a gas engine to generate electricity to drive the motor when the batteries run out and extend the range by 300 miles. By year’s end, Nissan Motor Co. will launch its Leaf car, powered only by batteries. Ford will come out with an all-electric version of its Focus compact car next year.
The Volt has been a publicity boon for GM.
“There’s no denying the awareness and image boost the Volt has provided to GM over the past few weeks, and given the automaker’s recent history that alone may justify the car’s $1 billion investment,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst at auto information company Edmunds.com.